Fight Facts: UFC on ESPN 39 ‘Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev’

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and Octagon oddities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship dragged this event kicking and screaming to the ESPN airwaves on Saturday, with a card that produced few shining moments. Even losing a fight on the day of the show, it still made it to the finish line, giving the company a small victory. UFC on ESPN 39 featured the rising of one Rafael at the expense of another, a fighter always on the wrong end of split decisions and an overall bad time for those repping the UFC’s reality show.

TUF Night at the Office: Across this 11-fight card, three different competitors from various seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter” competed: Ricky Turcios, Michael Johnson and Tresean Gore. All three suffered losses.

Late and Early at the Same Time: Since the UFC implemented five-round fights at UFC 21 in 1999, a bit over two dozen fights have ended by fifth-round stoppage. With Rafael Fiziev finishing Rafael dos Anjos 18 seconds into Round 5, Fiziev claims the record for the quickest finish into that final round. He tops the 26-second mark that Alistair Overeem set when he wrecked Augusto Sakai in 2020.

One Forgotten Feeling: In that last round, Fiziev officially recorded a knockdown on dos Anjos en route to the finish. He is the first fighter to drop dos Anjos since the Brazilian made his organizational debut against Jeremy Stephens in November 2008. At that time, only three of the other 21 competitors on the lineup had made their pro debuts.

It’s the Takedown That Counts: Dos Anjos picked up a slight moral victory as he officially took Fiziev down twice during their roughly 20-minute affair. Before this fight, Fiziev had been grounded exactly one time across six UFC appearances, with Brad Riddell the one to succeed once.

Trinta e Dos Anjos: The appearance for the former lightweight champion marked the 32nd time he had set foot inside the Octagon. This times him with Diego Sanchez for the seventh-most bouts in UFC history. Every fighter trails Jim Miller, who engaged in fight no. 40 at UFC 276.

Cruising Caio: Caio Borralho outgrappled Armen Petrosyan to pick up a clear-cut decision. The Brazilian began his career with finishes in his first six wins, plus a loss and a no contest. Since then, he has seen the final scorecards in five of his last six outings.

Four More Years of Sherman: In the third round, Chase Sherman concluded a three-fight skid by clobbering Jared Vanderaa. “The Vanilla Gorilla” pushed his career knockout rate to 94% with the win, and it marked the first time he had notched a stoppage after Round 2.

Unexpectedly Historic: Sherman and Vanderaa connected with 246 significant strikes in their 13:10 of heavyweight action. Only four heavyweight fights across the modern history of the division have seen more, with Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic’s second fight totaling 304 that record.

The Tristar Way: Needing the full three rounds to get past Ricky Turcios, Aiemann Zahabi settled for the decision victory. While two of his last three victories have come on the scorecards, the first six triumphs for the Canadian all came by first-round finish.

A Regular Slobberknocker: Jamie Mullarkey and Michael Johnson battled it out for 15 minutes, with Mullarkey snagging the split call. The finish rate of the Aussie fell to 87% with the win by decision, as the last 12 times Mullarkey had seen his hand raised, it had been the result of a stoppage.

Silver Check Lining: Although a majority of scoring media members gave the fight to Johnson, Mullarkey did pull off the win. Johnson did, however, earn “Fight of the Night” honors for their thriller. In all three of the FOTN-earning bouts for Johnson, he has been on the losing side of the equation.

Blood and Gore: Cody Brundage wrecked Gore in the first round to put himself on his first win streak since 2020. The Factory X product now sports a solid stoppage rate of 87% as a pro, with all but two of his finishes coming in the opening round.

Pig Iron Judges: By a narrow split decision, Antonina Shevchenko ended a losing streak and edged Cortney Casey on the scorecards. “Cast Iron” Casey has now dropped four UFC bouts by split decision, tying the all-time record held by Clay Guida, Jorge Masvidal, Paul Felder and Angela Hill.

Now a .500 Fighter: The four split decision defeats for Casey, plus five others, give Casey nine total losses as a UFC fighter. This places her in sole possession of the fourth spot for the most in women’s divisional history. Randa Markos and Jessica Eye (10 each) sit above her, while Hill’s 12 maintains the pole position.

Did You Know They Fought Before? After the midpoint of Round 2, David Onama throttled two-time foe Garrett Armfield with an arm-triangle choke that rendered Armfield unconscious. The Glory MMA & Fitness prospect has never needed to involved the judges to win a fight, with all 10 of his victories coming inside the distance.

Live by the Elbow: Wrecking Karl Roberson with a barrage of elbows, Kennedy Nzechukwu became one of a small number of fighters in company history to both win and lose fights by elbow strikes. This illustrious 17-member club includes names like Tito Ortiz, Frank Mir and Amanda Nunes.

Merab vs. Saidyokub Future Fight: To open the card, Saidyokub Kakhramonov upended Ronnie Lawrence by decision, taking the Tennessee native down 10 times to earn the nod. Throughout UFC bantamweight history, the record for the most takedowns by a bantamweight in a single fight sits at 12, accomplished by Merab Dvalishvili in 2020. Only five total bouts have seen one bantamweight land more takedowns than Kakhramonov in that match.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into UFC on ESPN 39, Fiziev had never fought beyond the third round (12 fights), Petrosyan had never lost on the scorecards (eight fights) and Gore had never been knocked out (four fights, two in TUF).

Don’t Put Your Blame on Me: Following his UFC debut loss to Magomed Mustafaev, Fiziev changed his entrance music to “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man. Since changing to that track, Fiziev has yet to lose.

It’s Enough to Drive You Crazy If You Let It: Brundage selected “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton as his walkout tune for the third time in three UFC fights, prior to his drubbing of Gore. The 28-year-old from Michigan has now walked out more times to Dolly Parton than every other fighter in UFC history put together.

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